Tuesday, December 29, 2009

Tarasov a Railwayman - Official

After a saga which took days between Lokomotiv and FC Moscow, Tarasov was finally presented to the media and fans. FC Moscow, who demanded compensation of $1.5 million from Lokomotiv, withdrew their stance and thus the transfer was given the green light. As Ignatyev, the player joined Lokomotiv on a free transfer.

The 22 year old signed a contract of 3 years and will play with the number 7, recently freed by Torbinsky. Tarasov, who have 2 Russian-U21 caps under his belt, started his career with out rivals Spartak Moscow. Unable to break up in the Spartak line-up, in 2006 Tarasov left Moscow in favour in Tom Tomsk. After two years in Siberia, Tarasov retuned to FC Moscow on a free transfer. After making 25 appearances and scoring 2 goals with the Citizens, Tarasov decided against renewing his contract with FC Moscow and thus left FC Moscow for Lokomotiv.

Friday, December 25, 2009

Lokomotiv snap Ignatyev - Official!

After days and days of speculation, Lokomotiv beat off the competition of champions Rubin Kazan to the signing of wide midfielder Vladislav Ignatyev. The move was made official just an hour ago. The 22 year old signed a contract of 5 years. The cost of the transfer is zero as Ignatyev joined Lokomotiv on a free transfer as his contract with Krylya Sovetov Samara expired. The midfielder will wear the number 18, previously wore by Nigerian midfielder Sani Kaita. Although being a left winger, the player is capable to play on either flank.

Last season, Vladislav played 25 for the Samara club and scored a single goal in the process. Prior to his experience at Samara, the Nabererzhnye Chelny born played for Neftekhimik Nizhnekamsk (2004-2005) and KAMAZ Naberezhnye Chelny (2006-2008) respectively, racking up 78 appearances for the latter and 39 for the former.

When interviewed, the player showed his pleasure of joining a big club such as Lokomotiv. He added that he choose the number 18 following a discussion with his friends. He concluded that 18 means first (1) and infinity (8).

On the other hand, Lokomotiv president showed his pleasure at the capture of the highly-rated midfielder. He recalled that this year wasn't the first time that Lokomotiv tried to lure Vladislav to Moscow. Actually last season Lokomotiv tried to snap up the midfielder but with no success as Ignatyev joined Krylya. Naumov cited that however this was a good move for the player himself as today Igntayev is a more experienced lad. Naumov concluded by identifying speed and strong shoot as Igantyev's main attributes.

Personally, I believe that this is another great move by the new Lokomotiv driven jointly by Naumov and Semin. Apart of coming at a zero cost - the player is highly rated and given that he is only 22 years of age, the player can become an indespensable part of Lokomotiv - just as Yanbaev did!!


Wednesday, December 9, 2009

Sychev voted the fan's player of the season

Russian international striker Dmitry Sychev was recognized by Lokomotiv fans as the best player for Lokomotiv in 2009. 3192 Loko fans took part in the voting which took place in the Area Fans. Sychev, Lokomotiv's assistant captain, won the majority of the votes as he won 56% of the votes. Second and third came Brazilian duo Rodolfo & Guilerme with 15% and 13% respectively.

This year, Sychev's season was quite mixed. After a difficult start, to which I blame solely Rashid Rakhimov, Sychev form improved considerably and coming the end of the season he topped Lokomotiv scoring charts with 12 goals. Recall that the 12th goal also enabled him to enter the CLUB100. Apart of being Loko's top scorer, personally Sychev's work rate is one of Loko's best.

As you may have already read in my season review, I also gave the award to Sychev. His commitment for Loko is second to no one, and although on certain occasions hard times took over him, he never looked back and with his strong will and determination, Sychev came out much more stronger for the second half of the season! You are the best!! Congratulations and all the best for the future Dima!!

Tuesday, December 1, 2009

Lokomotiv Moscow Season 2009 Review

While Rubin are celebrating their league, Spartak wondering what could have been otherwise if Dzhanaev haven't committed the two suicidal mistakes and Zenit celebrating their Champions League qualification with their saviour Vitaly Mutko, our TRUE saviour Yury Semin is already planning the team for the upcoming season - a season with high expectations to say the least - Title challengers? Possibly! Anyways the 2009 season is over, and although there is a lot of grief towards Zenit, nothing can be undone and thus undeservedly we will be heading to the Europa League. Fourth Place. Personally (bearing in mind how things took course over this year) I think it was a good result for Lokomotiv - at least it's a step in the right direction. Anyways let's sum up the season.

Coming from a rather disappointing season (7th place) - no European competitions - former Lokomotiv coach Rashid Rakhimov knew that this year fans will be expecting more, much more. In order to boost his squad, Rakhimov brought in Stanislav Ivanov, Oleg Kuzmin (both from FC Moscow), Jan Durica (Saturn), Tomislav Dujmovic (Amkar) and Baye Djiby Fall (OB, Denmark). On the other hand hosts of players left the club. Alexey Polyakov and Sergey Gurenko left for Tom Tomsk and Dynamo Minsk respectively, while African duo Dramani and Traore were both shipped out to Kuban on a one year loan. Tunisian Chaker Zouaghi and Bosnian defender Emir Spahic were both released. Soon followed them youngster Hovhannes Goaryan, who although topping the u21-league scoring charts in 2008, Rakhimov decided against giving him a well deserved chance. Thanks for spoiling what could have been a hot prospect Rashid!

Lokomotiv's start of the campaign was disastrous - one of the worst in Lokomotiv's post-soviet history. Drawing with Khimki at home, with all due respect to Khimki, is not the best result to kick-off a new campaign. Unsurprisingly, this showed things to come. Lokomotiv's morale fell to the ground and in the first 6 matches they were only capable of obtaining a miserable lot of 6 points (from a possible 18), with 6 goals scored and 9 received - and well, no clean sheet. A draw at Rostov followed the one against Khimki and although the win against Krylya eased the pressure off Rakhimov, the 4-1 defeat to arch-nemesis CSKA was too much. Although subsequently Rakhimov rallied his troops to a one-all draw against Zenit, the away loss to strugglers Kuban was the final nail of his coffin. Finally, Rakhimov was relieved off his duty! Then, Lokomotiv occupied the 12 place, yeah just 2 places above the relegation zone!!

However as soon as Rakhimov cleared his office, Lokomotiv saw an overturn in their performances. Maminov was installed as a care-taker coach as Lokomotiv were looking of luring great Yury Semin back to the Railway club. Given Loko's dismal form and Maminov inexperience (he only retired last December), some of the fans feared the worse. However the majority, bearing in mind that Maminov spent his entire life at Lokomotiv, were adamant that he will execute a good job, irregardless of his experience. And actually so it was!! Maminov kicked off his managerial career with a 1-nil home victory over Spartak Nalchik; a creditable draw at FC Moscow soon followed. A crashing 4-0 win over Terek in the next fixture ensured that Lokomotiv will travel to Kazan on a high. Unfortunately, Lokomotiv lost 2-0. Despite this setback, Maminov showed his motivation skills, something which Rakhimov lacked, and lead Lokomotiv to a perfect 2-1 victory over rivals Spartak - one of the matches of the season! Eventually this was Maminov last match as a head coach, as Lokomotiv announced the return of fan favourite, our father Yury Semin! Maminov was appointed assistant coach. During Maminov's tenure Lokomotiv scored 7 goals and let in 3.

Semin start with Lokomotiv was a rather slow one. Starting with a 2-0 loss to Saturn (who have Semin's pupil Loskov in their ranks - actually scored the second goal); Semin's troops continued their indifferent form by drawing the next three games; against Tom, Amkar & Dynamo respectively; all this despite improving considerably their performances on pitch. Finally, on the Semin's fifth match, Lokomtiv brought to an end their winless streak by winning over Rostov. This boosted Lokomotiv's morale by lot and actually Semin drove his team to 5 wins and a draw in the next five matches - setting a streak of 10 matches without losing - a streak which came to an abrupt end with a 2-1 loss to Terek. A 2-1 win over eventual champions Rubin put Lokomotiv back on track and also with an outside chance of even claiming the championship! Everything depended on the next match against Spartak - unfortunately Lokomotiv failed to delivery and slumped to a 3-nil defeat. Title dreams were over but still Lokomotiv had to regroup as in times also a place in Europe was put into jeopardy. Ultimately Lokomotiv obtained 13 points from the last 15 possible and placed fourth (joint third with Zenit actually), booking a place in the Europa League 2010-2011 Play-off round in the process. Needless to say that apart of Mutko's hand, Zenit placed third thanks to their better goal difference.

As I have already said, personally given the circumstances, the fourth place should be considered a success. Moreover Lokomotiv bettered last year position by 3 places and 7 points - 54 points to the 47 of last year. The 54 points totalled from 15 wins and 9 draws. On the other hand Lokomotiv recorded 6 defeats - none of them coming at Lokomotiv. Actually 35 points of the 54 were won at home and thus Lokomotiv were the only Russian Premier Liga home to never loose at home. From 15 home matches, Lokomotiv won 10 and drew the other 5, thus meaning taking 2.33 per home match. On the other hand away form was quite dismal - 19 points in 15 matches, a rating of 1.27 pts per match is quite disappointing. Actually Lokomotiv won only 5 times away from Lokomotiv, drew 4 and lost 6. The total goals scored throughout the season totalled to 43; while the goals let in were 30 - 1.43 goals scored and 1 goal let in per match respectively. 26 goals of the 43 (60%) were scored at home while 10 of the 30 (33%) were conceded at Lokomotiv. Average ratings totalled to 1.73 and 0.33 per match respectively. On the other hand, with regards to away matches, average ratings totalled to 0.57 goals scored and 0.66 goals conceded per match.

With regards to streaks, the longest number of matches without losing occurred between the 13th and the 23rd round - ten matches in all. 22 points were recorded in the process (6 wins and 4 draws). In contrast, Lokomotiv never lost two matches consecutively. Ultimately the longest winless streak was that of four matches, occurring between round 12 and 16. Loko's biggest win of the season was 4-0 and was registered against Chechen side Terek Grozny. On the other hand the heaviest defeat was a margin of three goals, and occurred twice, obviously both away. These were the 4-1 and 3-0 trashing at the hands of Moscow sides CSKA and Spartak respectively. Likewise, the highest scoring game involving Lokomotiv occurred twice. Total 5 goals were scored when Lokomotiv disposed of Kuban and were conversely beaten by CSKA by the identical score of 4-1. With regards to scoring, the largest number of matches for Lokomotiv without finding the net was that of 2 matches - actually Lokomotiv failed to score a goal on 6 occasions. Conversely Lokomotiv didn't concede on 9 occasions, with the longest streak being that of 3 matches.

Average attendance at the Lokomotiv Stadium averaged to 15,219 people; 28,100 (full capacity) and 9730 were the highest and lowest attendance recorded. The latter was recorded during the match against Terek while the former occurred was recorded for the derby against Spartak. On the other hand the highest attendance to play in front of was that of 37,000, ironically also during the derby versus Spartak. Conversely 6,000 was the lowest turnout when Lokomotiv played away from Lokomotiv. This was set at Eduard Streltsov, home of FC Moscow

Finally, we take a look to the player's individual statistics:
Top Goalscorer
1. Dmitry Sychev - 12 goals
2. Peter Odemwingie - 7 goals
3. Rodolfo, Denis Glushakov, Tomislav Dujmovic, Diniyar Bilyaletdinov & Wagner - 3 goals

Most Assists
1. Dmitry Torbinsky & Peter Odemwingie - 5 assists
2. Renat Yanbaev, Denis Glushakov & Alan Gatagov - 3 assists
3. Rodolfo, Wagner, Dmitry Sychev - 2 assists

Player with Most Appearances
1. Renat Yanbaev - 30 appearances (all matches)
2. Denis Glushakov & Dmitry Sychev - 27 appearances
3. Tomislav Dujmovic - 26 appearances

Most Minutes on Pitch
1. Renat Yanbaev - 2521 mins
2. Dmitry Sychev - 2388 mins
3. Tomislav Dujmovic - 2262 mins

Most Undisciplined Player
1. Peter Odemwingie - 6 yellow cards & 1 red card
2. Oleg Kuzmin & Dmitry Sychev - 5 yellow cards & 1 red card, Marko Basha - 2 yellow cards & 2 red cards, Tomislav Dujmovic & Dmitry Torbinsky - 8 yellow cards
3. Jan Durica - 4 yellow cards & 1 red card (yellow cards 1pt; red card 3 pts)

Head Coach Data

- 79 yellow cards were shown to Lokomotiv players. On the other hand, the ref gave 9 times the marching orders to Lokomotiv players, 6 of them being for two yellow cards

- With regards to the summer transfer window, 3 players came in for the four left. Malkhaz Asatiani (returned from his loan at Dynamo Kiev), Sani Kaita (on loan from Monaco) and Brazilian Wagner (from Cruzeiro) joined Lokomotiv. On the other hand Stanislav Ivanov (on loan to Krylya), Nika Piliev (end of contract - joined CSKA) and Fininho (end of contract - Sport Clube de Recife) left Lokomotiv. However, the most notable departure was that of Captain Diniyar Bilyaletdinov. Bilyaletdinov, who made 150 appearances and scored 31 times for Lokomotiv left for Everton for £9 million. Thanks for your service Diniyar!!

- The departure of Diniyar Bilyaletdinov meant that another player had to be appointed captain. The role was given to Brazilian centre back Rodolfo while striker Dmitry Sychev was appointed as assistant captain.

- This season was Dmitry Sennikov's tenth season at Lokomotiv; Congratulations!!

Finally, with regards to the Russian Cup, Lokomotiv's adventure lasted only one match. Pitted against far eastern club SKA-Energiya in the Round of 32, Lokomotiv sent the substitutes and youth players for the match. Unsurprisingly Lokomotiv slumped to a 2-1 defeat. Mudjiri scored for Lokomotiv.





[PS - All data and rating were obtained from both www.fclm.ru and www.lokomotiv.info. All awards (Team of the year, player of the year etc) aren't official - they are just in my opinion.]

Official - Tarasov joins Lokomotiv

Finally!! The news most of Lokomotiv fans were awaiting arrived! Today Lokomotiv officially announced the signing of FC Moscow midfielder Dmitry Tarasov! As you already know the transfer free is zero as Tarasov will join Lokomotiv on a free transfer. Tarasov is expected to meet his new mates on the 15 th of December, the same day his contract with FC Moscow will expire. Tarasov signed for three years.

When interviewed, Tarasov showed his pleasure of his transfer to Lokomotiv. He added that he wants trophies and he believes that Lokomotiv is the perfect club for him to achieve such feats. He also hinted that the fact that next year Lokomotiv will play in the Europa League may have also affected his decision to sign for Lokomotiv. According to him another two factors which influenced his decision were head coach Yury Semin and the fact that he will stay in Moscow.

Finally he concluded by thanking the president of FC Moscow Igor Dmitriev, head coach Miodrag Bozovic and the fans of the Citizens.

Levenets & Kaita officially leave Lokomotiv

Today Lokomotiv came into a mutual agreement with keeper Ivan Levenets to terminate his contract with Lokomotiv. Although the news came out on Friday it was only today that the departure was made official. In the mean time, another official departure is that of Nigerian midfielder Sani Kaita (pictured). Lokomotiv decided against to take the buy-out option stipulated in his contract and thus the player will return to Monaco. Recall that Kaita joined Lokomotiv last August on loan. Kaita just made 3 appearances for Lokomotiv, the last one coming during the 2-1 loss to Terek. From this blog I wish to thank the two for their service. Good luck for the future.

On the other hand Lokomotiv welcome back both Draman Traore and Haminu Dramani from their seasonal loan at Kuban. Although the latter is rumoured of leaving the capital, nothing was heard with regards to the Malian striker. Personally I wouldn't too disappointed at all if he rests at Lokomotiv. Actually I believe he did fairly well at Kuban; 8 goals in 27 appearances is not a bad ratio at all. On the other hand Haminu Draman, who managed the same number of appearances as Traore scored three times. Another two who returned to Lokomotiv after that their respective loan contract came to an end were Moldovan international Stanislav Ivanov and youngster Andrey Kuznetsov who played the last 6 months for Krylya Sovetov Samara and Lokomotiv-2 Moscow respectively. The Moldovan made 10 appearances for the Soviet Wings.

Monday, November 30, 2009

Thanks to the Fans

I would like to take to opportunity to thank all those fans who cheered on Lokomotiv - both in good and bad times - during this season! You are the best and I wish that even for one day I will be part of you!! You rock!! See you next season!! Take care till then!!

Sunday, November 29, 2009

Dmitry Sychev joins the CLUB 100

The two goals scored today against Khimki enabled Dmitry Sychev to join the CLUB 100 - an initiative took by Russian sport newspaper Sport Express to recognize those Russians players who score 100 or more goals in official matches of the highest level*. The goals, which were the 99th and the 100th respectively also allowed Dmitry Sychev to win his bet with former Lokomotiv coach Rashid Rakhimov - that is to score a minimum of 12 goals this season. In your face Rashid!! It is important to note that the 12 goals came under the guidance of the great Yury Semin, thus meaning 12 goals in 17 appearances - a rate of circa 0.7 goals per match!

Moreover this season also resulted to be Dmitry Sychev's second best in his career at Lokomotiv. The 12 goals scored meant that he surpassed the 11 goals he scored in 2007. Recall that his personal best stands at 15 goals, achieved in 2004.

From this blog I wish to congratulate Dmitry Sychev - you are my hero!! All the Best for the future!!

*Matches of the highest level include matches from:
- USSR Championship
- USSR Cup
- Russian Championship
- Russian Cup (1/16 onwards)
- Premier League Cup (now defunct)
- Russian Super Cup
- Russian National Team (or former CIS & USSR)
- UEFA Competitions
- Goals scored in any of the following championships - Argentina, Austria, Belgium, Brazil, Britain, Germany, Greece, Spain, Italy, Netherlands, Portugal, Serbia, Turkey, Ukraine, France, Czech Republic, Sweden, Scotland, Mexico and the U.S.

Lokomotiv cruise in Khimki

Today Lokomotiv travelled to Khimki to confront relegated side Khimki in a match billed David vs Goliath. Despite not recording the required yet unrealistic 10-0, Lokomotiv cruised and recorded a comfortable 3-1 victory. Unfortunately, the result wasn't enough to see Lokomotiv qualifying to the Champions League as Zenit luckily won against Spartak with 2 goals to 1 and held on their third place; third place achieved thanks to the combination of RFU and president Vitaly Mutko. For sure no Lokomotiv fan forgot April's match against Zenit! The final result was 1-1 but everyone know that Lokomotiv SHOULD HAVE been awarded the three points. The rules are clear and suppose for everyone, apparently except Zenit. Utterly disgusting. Is this the way the RFU wants to promote fair play? Bad example to everyone. Bear in mind that if Lokomotiv were given the three points on the table, Zenit supporters won't be celebrating their qualification as they are doing! But anyways that's football ... just ask the Irish. Still personally, given things took course, the fourth place is a good place for Lokomotiv. Moreover such results also ensures that after one year absence, European football will come back to Lokomotiv Stadium! Europa League here we come! Still, undoubtedly this Lokomotiv driven by Semin is capable of achieving by far more. This year was quite a turbulent one as Lokomotiv started under Rakhimov, then under Maminov and finally under Semin, thus meaning that the squad was in a transition. I am adamant that with Semin at the helm from the beginning next year Lokomotiv will come out more stronger. With a player or two Lokomotiv could seriously challenge for the Premiership! Let's hope for the best!!

Anyways back to the match. Given the limitations of the opposition, Semin opted for an offensive 4-4-2 formation. Guilherme made his 16th appearance while Kuzmin, Asatiani, Rodolfo and Yanbaev completed the back line. Torbinsky and Glushakov started on the left and right respectively while Wagner and Dujmovic partnered each in other the centre. Odemwingie and Sychev started in attack. Before passing on to the match report, I would like to bring to your attention that this today's match was Yanbaev's 30th, thus meaning that he didn't missed one match in the whole season! Congratulations Renat!!

Back to the match. Despite the undisputed difference between the levels of both clubs, no one thought that Lokomotiv would have took over the match the way they did. Actually in some moments I even thought that the 10-0 wasn't impossible as it seemed. In 15 minutes Lokomotiv were 2 up. By 20 minutes they could / should have been four. Odemwingie broke the deadlock on the 5th minute with a placed shot while Sychev doubled the advantage with a great header. Yanbaev assisted Sychev. Moments later Glushakov should have made them 3 as from 5 metres out he blasted his shot onto the keeper. From the resultant corner Odemwingie hit the crossbar. From then on Lokomotiv seemed to have shifted down a gear as they only troubled Khimki's keeper Komarov once before the half time whistle. 2-0 was the score at half time and 1-0 was the score in St. Petersburg.

The score at Petrovsky may have affected Loko's morale as they came out quite in an unconvincent manner in the second half. After coming twice with Sychev Lokomotiv suffered a lapse in concentration which actually allowed Khimki to claw one back through a diving header from Antipenko. This seemed to have brought Lokomotiv to life as they restored the two goal cushion immediately through Torbinsky. However, the goal was disallowed for an adjugded offence caused by the eventual assist man Yanbaev. Eventually Torbinsky was shown the yellow card for continuing the play despite the ref's call. After this episode the match slowed down and the match reached a friendly level. With minutes remaining, Lokomotiv made it three and practically closed the match. Torbinsky played a spectacular one two with Sychev and in front of the keeper it was more impossible to miss rather than score. However Torbinsky showed huge humility and instead of scoring the goal himself he returned the ball to Sychev by thus allowing him to score the 13 th goal, the goal which entailed him to claim his bet with former coach Rakhimov!! Sychev was ecstatic! Well Done Torba!!!! There was no change to the score as the ref whistled the final whistle, a whistle which draw the season to a close. Congratulations Lokomotiv!!!


Player Ratings:
Guilherme - 6.5 - No chance with the goal. Distributed well

Yanbaev - 7.5 - Tormented Khimki's backline from start to finish. Got an assist as well.
Asatiani - 7 - Rarely troubled at the back
Rodolfo - 7.5 - Closed the season in an emphatic wanner. Played some good balls and got an assist as well.
Kuzmin - 6.5 - Troubled a little bit at the back - all this due to his lack of speed.

Dujmovic - 7 - Started very well but faded as the match went on
Torbinsky - 8.5 - Pulled the strings in Loko's midfield - classy performance from the midfielder. Amazing humility.
Wagner - 6.5 - A little bit quiet today
Glushakov - 6.5 - An all around performance from the midfielder. Should have scored thou.

Odemwingie - 7 - Took his goal very well. Need to learn that sometimes he have to pass the ball rather than shoot it, but could be excused for that today.
Sychev - 8 - What more can you ask from the lad? Finished the season on high! Great performance from the assistant captain

Gatagov - 6.5 - brought a lease of life when introduced
Kambolov - 6.5 - helped his colleges to close down Khimki
Sennikov - N / A - no time to impress.

Friday, November 27, 2009

Bilyaletdinov voted October's best

Former Lokomotiv captain Diniyar Bilyaletdinov has been named Everton's player of the month for October! Diniyar, who joined Everton in summer scored twice last month and his performances earned praise from all corners! Congratulations Diniyar and all the best for the future!! You make US LOKO FANS PROUD!!
The article on Everton's official website can be found by clicking here.

Goodbye Kocsis & Levenets

According to Russian source sovietsport.ru, Lokomotiv president Nikolai Naumov announced the departure of both Rezvan Kocsis and Ivan Levenets.

With regards to former, the president revealed that the player is already at home in Romania. The reason is that he is unavailable for the upcoming match due to the injury sustained in the last training session were he broke his hand. Naumov continued that despite the discontinued ties, the player will be cured at the expense of the club. Kocis, 26, joined Lokomotiv at the beginning of 2007 from Moldovan top club Sheriff Tiraspol. The fee involved was that of 2.6 mln euros. In his 3 year stay in Moscow, the Romanian international racked up 54 league appearances, scoring 4 goals in the process. This season, Kocsis played 15 times for Lokomotiv and scored one goal, coming against Rostov. Although Kocis is nothing extraordinary I believe that Lokomotiv could miss his versatility. Moreover I blame Rakhimov as I believe that he destroyed the player's confidence completly ... All the best for the future Rezvan and Get Well Soon!! Thanks for your service!!

On the other hand, Levenets is expected to leave in a friendly agreement on Monday. Actually Lokomotiv will also help the keeper to find a new club. Levenets joined Lokomotiv in 2008 and to date he made 12 appearances, all coming during last season. His previous clubs include Amkar, Spartak Anapa and Chernomorets. Personally it's about time that Levenets leave the club. Despite I am sympatethic towards him, I never rated him as a keeper. He is an average keeper who could do well for a low-middle-table club or a relegation battler, but by no means he was ever up to the level of Lokomotiv!! I was literally mystified how could Rakhimov prefer Ivan ahead of Pelizzoli!! Anyways, finally his time at Lokomotiv is up and all I can do is to truly wish him the best for the future! Thanks for your service anyways!

Sennikov extends contract ...

Soviet Sport also reported that 33 year old Dmitry Sennikov will be celebrating the his tenth year stay at Lokomotiv by extending his contract with Lokomotiv for another year. The former 26 time capped Russian international joined Lokomotiv from fresh League Champions Rubin Kazan back in 2000. To date he racked up 188 apperances for Lokomotiv. Recall that Sennikov is the only player remaining from Loko's first ever league squad.

*UPDATE* - Tarasov signs for Lokomotiv

It's ALL but official. According to championat.ru Lokomotiv signed Russian international midfielder Dmitry Tarasov. The move is expected to be made official at the end of the season. Recall that the player will arrive on a free transfer.

Welcome on board TARASOV!! All the best!!


Moreover, Sovietsport.ru claimed that two other likely newcomers could be Vladislav Ignatiev and Alexandr Kerzhakov of Krylya Sovetov Samara and Dynamo Moscow respectively.

Lokomotiv steam in for Tarasov

According to Sport Express, Lokomotiv are one of the leading candidates to reach an agreement with former Russian-U21 midfielder Dmitry Tarasov. Tarasov, 22, currently plays for FC Moscow. Like Lokomotiv, also Spartak and Zenit are said of being interested in signing the youngster.

Despite being a bit sceptical about the rumours, I hope that they are true as I would see him the ideal partner for Dujmovic. He is Russian, only 22 years old of age, a good passer of the ball and have an amazing work rate. Moreover the player would come for free as Tarasov's contract with the Citizens expires at the end of the season. Let's hope that Lokomotiv succeeds in luring Tarasov to Cherizkovo!!

Recall that Tarasov played for Spartak Moscow and Tom Tomsk before joining FC Moscow.

Hull City interested in Draman

On the other hand, according to The Sun, English Premier outfit Hull City are interested in the services of Ghanian offensive midfielder Haminu Draman. Draman, who is currently on loan at Kuban Krasnodar was actually invited for a one week trial ahead of a potential £1m move to England in January. The 23 year old, who can also play either as a striker or a left back, has 25 international caps to his name.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Kocsis & Durica looking to leave

According to various portals both Rezvan Cocis and Jan Durica, Romanian and Slovakian international respectively are looking to leave the Moscow side.

With regards to the Romanian, the player confessed that despite the fact the he adapted well to Russian football he needs a fresh challenge. The main factor behind his willingness to leave Lokomotiv is for sure the limited opportunies he found this term. Actually the lack of playing time also costed his place in the national team. According to lokomotiv.info, Cocis is also open to offers from his native country. However nothing is decided yet.

On the other hand a certain departure is that of Jan Durica. Despite starting the season as an undisputed starter, the former Saturn defender found himself behind Asatiani, Rodolfo and Basha in the pecking order as soon as Semin took over Lokomotiv. With the World Cup 2010 looming, lack of playing time could be disastrous for Durica in his bid to make it to the World Cup. Greek outfit Panathinaikos are said of being interested in the Slovakian. Recall that Durica only joined Lokomotiv last January.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Derby win for Lokomotiv

In yet another derby, Lokomotiv visited cross town Dynamo at Arena-Khimki with the hope of strenghtening their position towards an European berth. Putting in a laboured performance, personally one of the best of the season, Lokomotiv scraped a two-nil victory over the Blues. As it turned out to be, the match wasn't a straightforward one for Loko. Actually I believed that if Dynamo had a more experienced striker than the former Loko young Kokorin in their ranks, the result could have been a little different. However this doesn't mean that Lokomotiv's win was undeserved. All the eleven gave their heart out on the pitch and I do really wonder what Lokomtiv could hace been capable of achieving if Wagner hadn't been out for a month...challenge for the championship? Maybe... The only disappointing point was Odemwingie. Despite his undisputed talent, sometimes his decision making truly puzzle me. For example it's not the first time that instead of passing the ball with a possible counter attack he tracks back. I really don't know. He's a total different player when he wears the green of the Super Eagles.

For the derby, Semin opted for a conservative 4-4-1-1 formation. Having to make without the services of key player Sychev, Semin elected Odemwingie to fill his void. Wagner assisted the Nigerian while Gatagov, Torbisnky, Glushakov and Dujmovic completed the midfield. Yanbaev and Sennikov started on the right and left flank respectively while Rodolfo and Asatiani partnered each other for the first time in four matches. Undoubtely Guilherme completed the first eleven.

From the opening minutes Lokomotiv looked happy to stay at the back and hit with the counter. Unexpectedly things turned smooth for the railwayman. Eight minutes in and Loko drew first blood. A good combination from Gatagov and Wagner put Torbinsky in the perfect position to poke home the opener. Dynamo failed to reply for the goal and it was no surprise that this was the only goal of the first half. Apart of a chance a piece, Guilherme and Gabulov were rarely troubled. Actually, it was the hosts the first to trouble the keeper as Kerzhakov made the most of Loko's defence exposure and let off an angled shot which gave the illusion of a goal. This infuriated Semin and he even went out of his area to vent his anger at Loko's backline. On the other hand Loko's chance came through Gatagov who one on one with Gabulov failed to double the guests' advantage.

In the second half, Dynamo mentor Kobelev tried to increase the Blues' firepower infront by introducing former Loko striker Kokorin. Kobelev seemed to hit it right as within seconds the young striker unsettled Loko's defence, only to be stopped by the ref for a foul. Dynamo took the initiative and now were orchestrating the match. Alhthough they seemed the most likeliest to score, this wasn't the case as a quick counter attack put Loko 2 front. Torbinsky returned the favour as he turned provider to Wagner, who after running through the keeper, he cooly sent the ball in the bottom right corner. As a die hearted fan Semin went wild. Such behaviour is justified when there is a Champions League to play for... After the goal the match lost its rhythym and actually nothing of note did happen till the end of the encounter. 2-0 was the final score, a result that ensure that Loko and Zenit go head to head for a place in the Champions League with a match to spare. Go Loko; hope Spartak do us a big favour!! Honour your Capital mates!!

Player Ratings:
Guilherme - 6.5
- Nothing notable to do. Composed as ever.

Sennikov - 6.5 - Put in a good performance despite playing out of position. Some shaky moments at the beginning, but Sennikov grew immensly as minutes went by
Asatiani - 7 - Composed as ever
Rodolfo - 7.5 - If Russia had such defender in their ranks they won't be watching the upcoming World Cup on TV. Made two great blocks and together with Asatiani completly marked Kerhzakov out of the match.
Yanbaev - 7 - After a tormenting week for the Russian international, the left full back put in another good performance as he combined well down the left wing.

Dujmovic - 7 - Bossed the midfield
Glushakov - 7.5 - Industrious performance from the Russian midfielder.
Torbinsky - 7.5 - Was believed to be dejected after Russia's elimination. If it was so for sure he put that disapointment behind as he put in one of the best performances of the season
Gatagov - 7 - Found Wagner perfectly for the first goal. Should have scored though.

Wagner - 8 - Amazing performance from the Brazilian wizard. His technique is extraordinary. Got himself on the scoresheet and provided the assist for the first goal. Made things extremly difficult for Dynamo.

Odemwingie - 6.5 - Good performance; nothing extraordinary thou... He is capable of much more better...

Kuzmin - 6.5 - brought in to protect the back four and did was requested to him
Kocis - N/A - no time available

Wednesday, November 11, 2009

Lokomotiv-2 Moscow Season 2009 Review

The 2009 season was Lokomotiv-2 Moscow's first ever season in professional football. After Loko-2's succesful debut last season in the fourth level of Russian football, the Amateur Football League, were they even took bronze medals, the management decided to install Lokomotiv-2 in the Second Division for the 2009 season. Being from Moscow they were put in Zone West. The team was lead by former Lokomotiv midfielder Eugeny Kharlachev.

In their first season the team did fairly well. The 5th place should be considered a success. In 35 matches played (bear in mind the 3-0 walk over over Spartak Schelkyovo), Lokomotiv scored 59 goals against the 38 goals received, recording 55 points in the process. Add the 3 points gained from the walkover and the they total to 58 points, of which36 were gathered at home; 11 wins & 3 draws. On the other hand, only 22 points were won from away matches; 5 wins and 7 draws (they include also the 3 points given on the table). At home Lokomotiv scored 41 goals against the 19 received. On the other hand (taking away the 3 goals given on the table) Lokomotiv scored as much as they received at home when playing away from ACI Lokomotiv. Likewise were the number of goals let in when playing away. On average Lokomotiv-2 scored 1.72 goals per match. On the other hand the adversaries found the net 1.05 times per match.

With regards to streaks, the largest number of matches without losing occured between the 12th and the 20th, that is 8 matches. Something to note is that it also includes the 3 wo win over Spartak. 18 points were recorded in the process (5 wins & 3 draws). On the other hand the longest streak without recording a single pointwas that of three matches. Actually it occured two times; from round 9 to 12 and the last three matches. Moreover Lokomotiv could only draw in the two previous matches, thus taking the streak without winning to 5 matches, which actually is the seasonal longest.

Average attendance at the Minor Sports Arena Lokomotiv (MSA Lokomotiv) averaged up to 300 people; 500 and 120 the largest and smallest attendance respectively. The highest attendance to play infront of when playing away from Moscow was that of 3600, in the match against Dynamo of Vologda.

Finally, we take a look to the player's seasonal individual statistics.
Top Goalscorer:
1. Artur Sarkisov - 10 goals
2. George Gabulov - 9 goals
3. Anzur Sanaya - 6 goals

Player with the most Appearances:
1. Georgi Kabulov - 27 app
2. Dmitriy Shikurin - 26 app
3. Yuriy Kulikov - 24 app

Most Undiscplined player:
1. Georgi Kabulov - 7 yellow cards
2. Stanislav Remnev - 6 yellow cards
3. Dmitriy Lyapkin - 5 yellow cards
Yuriy Kulikov - 5 yellow cards
- In total 57 yellow cards were shown by the referee to Lokomotiv-2 Moscow players.
- No red cards were shown.
- Only Ruslan Nigmatullin & Anton Yepikhin left the club midway through the season. The latter joined FC divisional rivals Zelenograd while the former went to play overseas for Maccabi Akhi Nazareth in Israel
- During Loko-2's final presentation, former Russian international Yury Drozdov (pictured) announced his retirement from professional football. From this blog I would like to thank him for his service for both Lokomotiv Moscow and also Lokomotiv-2 Moscow. Before this year's stint with Loko-2, Drozdov wear the red-green shirt for the whole of ten years, accumulating 254 league appearances in the process.

With regards to the Russian Cup, Lokomotiv-2 were knocked out in the second round by an extra-time goal from Torpedo-Zil Moscow. 1-0 was the final score.


Monday, November 9, 2009

Lokomotiv scores at death to climb to 5th place

Oh man! What an end to a pretty boring match! I had not shouted as much as yesterday since Torbinsky's extra time goal against the Dutch!! As Sychev lined up for the freekick I was more than resigned for a draw, and more importantly for a place in the upcoming UEFA Champions League!! The fact that 10 minutes before the same Sychev missed a penalty justified my disbelief that Lokomotiv WOULD HAD NEVER ended their home season on such a high!! In addition recall that Lokomotiv HAD NEVER beaten Amkar at Lokomotiv Stadium before. Watch and learn Rakhimov!! With Semin at the helm dreams are the stuff for us Lokomotiv fans!! With Semin and maybe another player or two, next season could really be our year!! Mind me, there is also the talk of a possible return of another idol, Marat Izmailov...do you remember him??? For sure his return would send the red-green fans into raptures; the same as Captain Sychov sent them yesterday with his goal!! Unlike me, the fans at the stadium believed in the team and cheered on them till death.....Enthrallingly this may have triggered Sychev as he let a thunderstrike which not even five keepers would have saved it!! The guy does have red-green blood running in his veins!!! It's true that his shoot was nothing special in the eye, however all those who followed Sychev this season believe that his heart went out with his shot. Finding such strength at the 93rd minute - and after running all over the pitch (in certain cases he also tracked back as far as to the corner flag) - and playing with a player less for more than 35 minutes - is something which I deem abnormal - power of will maybe?! Im sure it was!! (Actually Sychev later confessed that he felt something strange inside him that sort of forced him to take the freekick!!) Lokomotiv is your home Dmitry!! A true captain!!

Back to the chronicle, our Saviour Yury Semin was forced to ring the changes to the starting formation as Lokomotiv had to make without a host of important players. Kocsis slotted in as right back as Kuzmin and Kambolov were both disqualified. Rodolfo was deemed unfit again and thus Basha took his role. Another suspended man was former Perm midfielder Dujmovic. In light of this Semin fielded a 4-3-1-2 formation. Guilherme started between the posts while Yanbaev and Asatiani completed the back four. Charles, Glushakov and Torbinsky started in the midfield while Gatagov assisted Odemwingie and Sychev up front.

As I had already reckoned, the match was quite lacking in terms of chances. Guilherme was rarely called into action as Amkar troubled the guests only once. On the other hand, Lokomotiv, despite dominating possesion (more in the second than in first, unexplainably even more with a man down) found it bit difficult to trouble Usminsky. Actually it took Lokomotiv the best of 34 minutes to trouble the opposition's keeper as Charles' angled shot was turned around the post by Usminsky. That proved to be the only scare as the referee sent both sets to the dressing roam.

Gladly, the second half kicked off in little bit different way as Lokomotiv came out in search for the vital goal. Actually within minutes they nearly broke the deadlocked as Kocsis seemed certain to deposit the ball into open net. However this wasn't the case as Kocsis failed to connect with the cross. On the 54th minute tragedy struck at Lokomotiv. When Lokomotiv finally looked to have taken the overhand, Charles was sent off after he was shown the second yellow card for foolishy disrupting a quick-taken freekick!! Amazingly, the sending-off seemed to have rather lifted Lokomotiv than demoralised them as from then on it was only Lokomotiv; however with no end result. Passion was running high amongst the players and with 15 minutes to go this was transmitted to both head coaches as they bursted onto pitch in qucik succession to show their disagreement with the referee! At a given moment they even confronted each other! With 5 minutes remaining and a draw on the cards, Lokomotiv were awarded a penalty as Zhilyaev tumbled Sychev! The latter steadied himself, but unfortunately his crashing shot was punched clear by Usminsky. Sychev fell to the ground and couldn't believe what he had just missed.

Despite only 2 minutes of regular time remaining, a player down and no luck at all, the fans at the stadium still believed that Loko could win the three points and they continued to encourage and cheer the guys....and man they were damn right!! 2 minutes, 47 seconds after regular time and Lokomotiv Stadium erupted!!! Strangely enough Sychev steadied himself for a freekick (usually it's either Odemwingie, Wagner or Torbinsky), and with the fans in front of him, Sychev let a rocket which rifled into the net!! The way everything happened, it seemed that the freekick was taken by the whole Loko fans rather than by only Sychev!! 1-0 was the final score as Loko fans remained to celebrate at the stadium!!!!

Recall that being the last home match, yesterday's win meant that Lokomotiv kept the record of being the only Russian Premier Liga side that never lost at home!! Actually, Lokomotiv won 10 and drew 5 times, recording 35 points in the process. Congratulations!!

Player Ratings
Guilherme - 6.5 - Nothing significant to do.

Kocsis - 7 - Never troubled at the back. Bombed forward.
Asatiani - 7.5 - Neutralized Kushev, had one amazing forward run.
Basha - 7 - Deputised well for Rodolfo. Clearly not a bench player.
Yanbaev - 6.5 - Quite a quiet game from the Russian Speedy Gonzalez.

Charles - 4.5 - Got foolishly sent off.
Torbinsky - 7 - sprayed some good balls. Hard-working performance as ever.
Glushakov - 5 - wasn't fit and was unsurprisingly replaced early in the match.
Gatagov - 7 - Brought the freekick which eventually brought Loko the 3 points.

Odemwingie - 6.5 - All running with no end product. No one can explain why he is not capable of replicating his international form in Moscow.
Sychev - 8 - An all action performance from the captain! Missed a penalty but made amends with a blast. Industrious performance!

Wagner - 7 - Brought extra creativity into the match. Actually Lokomotiv started playing on his introduction. Welcome back Wagner!!
Highlights of the match can be viewed here

Wednesday, November 4, 2009

Lokomotiv looking to Semshov

According to fclokomotiv.com, Lokomotiv Moscow are interested in the signing of Zenit St. Petersburg central midfielder Igor Semshov. The Russian international, who played for the likes of CSKA, Torpedo and Dynamo (all Moscow) before his transfer to Zenit in January 2008, is said to be considering his options as he is nearly certain that he will leave the St. Petersburg outfit at the end of the season. Like Lokomotiv, Dynamo Moscow also showed their interest in bringing their former playmaker back. The diminutive midfielder is expected to command a transfer fee of 6mln euros.

I am of the opinion that Semshov would be a great acquisition for Lokomotiv. Apart of Glushakov & Wagner (I don't rate Mudjiri) we do not have any central midfielders. I just hope that coming January I'll see either Aliev or Semshov in a red-green tracksuit. Up the red-green!!

Monday, November 2, 2009

Sychev celebrates double with call-up!!

AT LONG LAST!! Dmitry Sychev is back in international fold!! After 6 months of international wilderness Sychov was called up again by Hiddink for the World Cup 2010 playoff against Slovenia. No one can claim that he didn't deserved it. It's true that at the beginning of the championship he wasn't at his best, however in recent matches he found his form and shown why he is toughted to be one of the best strikers in Russia. Just the perfect desert for yesterday's goal which personally is his year's best.
Gladly, also Torbinsky and Yanbaev will make part of the Russian squad. There was also place for former Lokomotiv captain Diniyar Bilyaletdinov. Good luck to all of you and all the Russian squad!!! WE HAVE TO BE AT THE WORLD CUP!!
More International Joy....
If Sychev is pleased to receive the call-up, Dujmovic is perhaps even more pleased with the Croatian call-up as it is his first ever. It was no secret that Tomislav Dujmovic dreamed of putting the red-white checked shirt of the Vatreni. Actually Dujmovic even rejected the chance to represent Montenegro to play for his homeland.
When asked about the call-up, Dujmovic seemed delighted. He even confessed that the fact the he was called up without playing for either Dinamo or Hajduk make him even prouder as it is very difficult that any Croatian player play for Croatia without playing for one of the two clubs mentioned. He ended by saying that he will do his best to impress the management. Goodluck Tomislav!! Recall that Croatia face Liechtenstein.

Lokomotiv beat Tom amidst controversy

Lokomotiv mantained their step with their rivals for a Champions League berth with a 3-1 win in Tomsk. Unfortunately, for the first time this season, I wasn't able to watch the whole match; actually due to unforeseen circumstances I was able to watch Lokomotiv's last 30 mins. This mean that I won't be able to rate the players as I find it rather ridiculous to rate a player's performance in last 15 minutes. Anyways a brief summary of the match.

With Lokomotiv still hoping for a the bronze medals and Tom Tomsk looking to secure their status in the Russian top flight the encounter was always going to be a heated one; which eventually it resulted to be. 4 goals, 4 yellow and 2 red cards were all listed on the ref's handbook at the end of the match. In addition, with Lokomotiv collecting an average point from their last 4 matches another drawback would mean addieu to a possible Champions League berth. Apparently, for the first time since his appointment, Semin decided to change his starting formation from 4-2-3-1 to 4-4-1-1. Guilherme made his 14 start for Lokomotiv, while Kuzmin and Yanbaev started on the right and left flank respectively. The central pair was made up of Basha and Sennikov who replaced Rodolfo and Asatiani respectively. Youngster Kambolov, Dujmovic, Glushakov and Gatagov started in midfield while Odemwingie assisted captain Sychev in attack.

Despite a conservative-looking formation, Lokomotiv opened the score within the ten minutes. Tom keeper Pareiko tripped Odemwingie and with no hesitation the referee pointed to the spot. From 11 metres, Sychev duly converted. However within ten minutes, Tom levelled the matters as Maznov found himself at the right time and place for the rebound to deposit into open net following Kharitonov's effort was parried onto the right-up by Guilherme. On the 33rd minute Lokomotiv hit again as Sychev let an unstoppable strike into the bottom left corner. Pareiko couldn't do nothing. 2-1 was the score at half time.

Showing good football, Semin made no changes at half time and Lokomotiv repaid him by scoring the third goal through Odemwingie. The goal earned harsh protests from Tom as they believed that the player was offside by some metres. Although at first sight everyone would have gave Tom reason, replays showed that at the time of the cross, that is before the ball rebounded off the head of a Tom defender Odemwingie was in onside position. That means that the goal stood. There was an even more drama as ten minutes later, following a brawl, two players, one for either side were sent-off. Dzyuba and Kambolov for Tom and Loko respectively were those two. That resulted to be last action of note as Lokomotiv closed down to record a much-needed 3-1 victory over Tom Tomsk.